ECOWAS’ reputation for upholding democratic norms is facing strain as a growing number of West African leaders alter rules to consolidate power and resist stepping down at the end of their mandated terms.
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A power struggle between former President José Mário Vaz and Guinea-Bissau’s ruling Party for the Independence for Guinea and Cape Verde plunged the country into a series of political and institutional crises following the dismissal of Prime Minister Domingos Simões Pereira in August 2015. From the beginning ECOWAS took an active role in resolving the impasse, embarking on several rounds of mediation missions led by former and current regional heads of state, as well as a delegation of regional ministers. The culmination of these efforts resulted in the October 2016 Conakry Accord, a 10-point roadmap for resolution designed to foster political stability and cooperation among the country’s governing members. ECOWAS’s sustained engagement in Guinea-Bissau provides a blueprint for future political and institutional crises in the region.
President Alpha Condé’s maneuvers to adopt a new Constitution despite popular opposition are another step toward subverting democratic checks and balances in order to secure a third term as president.
Despite opposition counts showing they won 61 percent of the vote, Faure Gnassingbé was declared the winner of Togo’s presidential election, advancing his bid to continue his family’s 53-year rule.
Popular demand to end the 50-year rule of the Gnassingbé family puts the spotlight on Togo’s authoritarian practices and ECOWAS’s vow to uphold democratic norms.
African elections in 2020 will be a test against efforts to erode presidential term limits and other democratic checks and balances, with direct consequences for stability on the continent.
September 10-12, 2019 Washington, D.C. Syllabus | Program Schedule Overview of the Africa Center Presented by: Dr. Raymond Gilpin (slides) Required Reading: Website: www.africacenter.org Plenary 1: Conflict Trends in Africa Presented by: Dr. Paul D. Williams (slides) Dr. Catherine Lena Kelly (slides | video) Recommended readings: Ingrid Vik Bakken and Siri Aas Rustad, “Conflict Trends in Africa,... Continue Reading
After breaking away from decades of autocratic rule, democratic progress in Guinea is now at risk as President Alpha Condé maneuvers to revise the constitution and stay in power for a third term.
Program materials for the Africa Center's 2019 program, “National Security Strategy Development Workshop: Central and Southern Africa.” Click here for syllabus, readings, and presentation slides.
The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara has pursued breadth rather than depth of engagement in its rapid rise along the Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso borders.
Benin’s recent no-contest legislative elections are an attempt to consolidate executive power at the expense of democratic gains.
The African Union will need to overcome a lack of political will and address structural challenges if it is to be effective in responding to security crises on the continent, consistent with its founding mission.